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Public Speaking Thread


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This is a thread to post about stuff to do with public speaking.

Talk about speaking in public, toastmasters, professional speaking, tips on public speaking, subjects that you might want to speak on pubically, or anything else to do with public speaking.


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for about four years i have participated in toastmasters, a club where you can learn to practice your public speaking skills.

i am now going to share some of those speeches that i have done at toastmasters.


Chance is a Fine Thing
Mister Toastmaster.
Picture this: You’re up here speaking at Toastmasters. The audience watching you with their eager eyes and engaging ears. Then you hear a braying sound. You look to the side and see a donkey. Standing there munching on some dead grass. The donkey then starts to walk up to you, stopping to lick the lectern. You try to continue, but it is no use. You’ve lost the crowd. Leaving the stage, you sit back down. Heart beating and mind fleeting. Your moment over.

To help deal with this problem I started brainstorming down ideas. I would now like to present three proposals on how we can help prevent these determined donkeys from interrupting our Toastmaster meetings.

The first is the most obvious. We put out a nice plate of carrots for the donkey and put them towards the meeting entrance. Have the sergeant of arms put it out or someone else from this club. Maybe they could chop up the carrots in an aesthetic manner or garnish the plate with some celery. By doing that it could distract the donkey long enough for one of us to politely show the animal the exit.

There are some problems with this idea. The donkey could have just eaten some carrots before and not be very hungry. Ignoring the plate as they stride towards the stage. They could also have decided to give up carrots as part of their New Year’s Resolution. Vowing never to munch down on that variable vegetable for the rest of the year. Not even a plate of that orange oasis enough to tempt them.

If we do come across a donkey that is not a fan of carrots, then I do have a second solution. Someone in this club puts up a sign near the meeting entrance with the words “No Donkeys Allowed”. Type it on a white piece of paper. Making sure we don’t use no fancy font. Print it out, and stick it somewhere near the banner. Anywhere where the donkey can stop, read it, and think to themselves: “Well, if that says I’m not allowed in, then I better go. Don’t want to disobey a sign. That’s bad karma”. Then they turn around and amble away from Toastmasters.

Of course, there could be some issues with this. One of the donkeys could need their reading glasses. But being of the vain variety they put off their appointment with the optometrist. Which means when they come to Toastmasters, they ignore the sign because it is all just a big blog of printed mess. Another problem is what if we had to deal with a Spanish donkey who couldn’t read English? We can’t exactly print out more pieces of paper with different languages asking donkeys to stay away. That would be just too much. Our only hope is that the Spanish donkey stays at the sign long enough for one of us to direct him to the exit.

My final plan I had to deal with the donkeys was that we all pitch in and get ourselves a guard hamster. Now, you may not know this, but it is common knowledge that donkeys are afraid of hamsters. All we would have to do is go to a hamster and hire them to become a guard. Provide them with little guard boots and clothes. Perhaps even a truncheon too. When the donkey comes up and sees the hamster prowling the entrance, thwacking the truncheon again their tiny paws, they’ll be so scared they scamper away from the meeting.

There is one complication though with that proposal. We could come across a donkey who is not afraid of hamsters. They might have gone to a psychiatrist to get over this fear of those furry fiends. Or they could have gotten over their phobias by themselves by reading some self-help books. If that is the case, then we better hope that the donkey can either read English, or is hungry for some carrots.

Put out some carrots. Place a sign near the entrance. Hire a hamster guard. Three ideas on how to deal with donkeys distracting our Toastmaster meetings. I believe if we implement one or all of those plans then it will solve the animal annoyance once and for all.

Mister Toastmaster.
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Rock Solid


There I stand. Trying not to shake in front of two hundred people at the 33rd annual Tina Arena festival. About to give the main speech to this awaiting audience. After years of public speaking it has all lead up to this moment. There is just one problem: I have nothing to say. I’m in chains.

It had all seemed so easy all those weeks ago when I had volunteered to give this talk. Especially since it was only going to be for about five to seven minutes. For many years I had been a big fan of that artistic Australian. Listening to her vivacious voice healing my heart and serenading my soul. Browsing her brilliant biography and reading the reviews of her recordings. Watching her as she commanded the crowd and entertained endlessly with her masterful music. With all that information I had more than enough to write a special speech for this significant singer.

I began by thinking over the next few days about what I should talk about during the festival. Going about my life I started turning over and over in my head about the different aspects of Tina’s life that could make a speech suiting such a superb songstress. To not only to do justice to the festival but to Tina Arena herself. The trouble was that there was so much stuff that I could talk about that I didn’t know where to begin.
Should I talk about Tina’s younger days? Where she marvelled millions as tiny Tina Arena on Johnny Young’s Talent Time for a number of years. Or maybe I could discuss her daring dash into the mainstream? Highlighting her record-breaking album “Don’t Ask” which finally broke off her tiny Tina label and launched her into the level of legends. Of course, I could speak about Tina’s foray into the world of French music. Where she re-gained her love of the arts in that fascinating country. Giving her new life as she ventured into the twenty first century. Many things to talk about, but not a lot of time to speak.

To help me organise my thoughts I began writing down my ideas on paper. Page after page I started to scribble down any Tina thoughts that I had. Day after day, night after night the words started to fill up until I was sure I could get them right. But no matter how hard I thought, no matter how hard I tried, the words were empty, and my brain completely fried.

As the festival drew nearer, the idea for my Tina speech was not becoming any clearer. My thoughts were now consumed about this upcoming festival. I could not drink, I could not sleep, and I could not eat. All I could do was just hold that paper in my hand. Staring at nothing, thinking nothing, and feeling nothing. The clock tick-tick ticking and my pen not clicking.

Eventually, it was the day before the big festival, and I still had no speech written down. A mere twenty-four hours before I had to speak in front of so many people, including the Mayor, and I was going to embarrass myself as well as bring shame upon the community. If only I hadn’t volunteered.

Then I had an idea: why not listen to one of Tina’s songs again for some inspiration? A chorus from Chains or the soothing serenade of Sorrento Moon. Maybe that could help me with this tricky task. I had been so busy writing about Tina that I had forgotten to listen to Tina.
I made my way into my Tina Arena room and went over to my special Tina Arena CD player where I played all my Tina Arena songs. I pressed play. Nothing happened. I pressed play again. Still, nothing happened. No divine inspiration for me today, for it seemed my fortune had gone away. Only bad luck. Because later I found out what happened: the power was out.

There I stand. The crowd is waiting and I feel like fainting. Especially with their eyes are fixed on me. I know I have nothing, but I have to say something. Anything at all. I step forward and start to speak. Throat thirsty and tongue tied. I then open my mouth. No longer in chains.


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I think the most important thing about public speaking is practice. but practice smart, not hard.


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also when you are practicing your speech, try to remember what it looks like from the perspective of the audience. because if you move around and they can't see you then that is not good.


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Wally the wombat stood in front of the mirror wondering how he was going to cope being president of the Dame Judi Dench appreciation society. This whole leadership thing was rather a new concept for Wally. Growing up he’d always been happy to be a follower. But now he realised if he was ever going to be a good president he would need to learn how to be a leader. Sure, he knew what to do as president just from observing his predecessors. It was the how to be a president that was trickier to understand.
“I think that a trip to the library is in order.”
Wally went to the library. However, once inside the screams from the patrons and a broom attack by a librarian put an end to that idea. Hiding in the bushes from the incoming animal control van, Wally started thinking of how else he could learn about leadership.
“I guess if I could find a computer it might give me some more information.”
Unfortunately, by the time Wally thought of that brilliant idea it was almost time for his meeting. He crawled underneath the bushes and waddled off to a nearby building. Once there he opened the door where was greeted by a group of wombats. Wally had once been told that a group of wombats was called a wisdom of wombats. That confused him as wombats were not as a general rule very wise. In fact, Wally thought as he made his way to the front of the room to the lectern, wombats were really rather stupid. He could see no less than five wombats dressed as characters from Dame Maggie Smith. There was even a wombat dressed as a transformer!
This was no time for reflections or recriminations though, and soon enough Wally banged the gavel on the lectern to bring the meeting to order.
“Welcome one and all to the Dame Judi Dench Appreciation Society! Please be seated. Thank you. Now, have we got the minutes for the last meeting William?”
William, a rather idiotic wombat, looked at Wally for a couple of seconds before replying:
“And why not?”
“Because I ate it.”
“You, stupid boy. Ok, well moving on. As you know next….”
But Wally was interrupted by the coughing of an elderly wombat by the name of Wesley.
“Yes, Wesley? Did you want to give your treasurers report now?”
“Oh no, no. I can do that later. I just have a few quick things I’d like to say. Won’t take too long. Now, if you turn over to….”
Wesley then proceeded to go into a very long and very boring speech that no one in the club cared about. Still, it did give some of the wombats an opportunity to indulge in their favourite past-time: napping.
Forty-five minutes later Wesley finally sat down. Wally gently banged the gavel to waken the other wombats up.
“Wakey wakey. Ok, as I was saying, next week is the annual Dame Judi Dench festival and our club is going to be running the interpretative dance section. Any volunteers?”
Wally looked around the room. Not one paw went up.
“Why don’t you do it?” said a voice from the crowd.
“Who said that? You know I can’t do it on account of my lumbago.”
More voices started shouting out from the audience:
“Dench would be ashamed of you!”
“You aint got lumbago!”
“Ok, fine, fine. I’ll volunteer. Now, anyone else?”
This time many paws went up in the air. Wally spent the next few moments writing them down.
“Thank you for that. Jolly good. Ok, now, our first item on the agenda is Wendy who is going to give us a review of the fifth season of “As Time Goes By”. Wendy?”
“She’s not here. I told you that before.”
“You did no such thing Wesley.”
“I did, you just didn’t listen.”
“It’s true, Wally. He did say it. I have it in the minutes here.”
Wally took the minutes from William and read them.
“Well it seems as though I was mistaken. Apologies for that Wesley.”
The rest of the conference continued as normal. A wombat named Wilma gave a presentation on why the Second Exotic Marigold Hotel was better than the first. They all played a game where they all tried to act out scenes from Chocolat. There was also a local wombat delicacy for them to have during the break: scones with jam and cream.
Waddling home from his meeting Wally had tried to work out if the last couple of hours had helped him to learn about leadership. He had learnt a few things, namely that being leader involves listening to other wombats and setting a good example for the rest of he group. However, all this thinking about leadership was giving Wally a bit of a headache.
“I think, I shall take a nap when I get home.”
And that is what he did.

@BBantUK07, @Fuzz that's the speech I did at Toastmasters.


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I admire anyone who can get up and address an expectant audience. I dreaded it in school, I’d get bad anxiety attacks and end up failing, so in the end I just insisted on taking the fail to save myself the trauma. As I got older I thought I could handle it, so I’ve spoken in front of a small group I belong to, twice... both times my voice betrayed me and I sounded like a right twat. Again now older and wiser, about 2 years ago I was asked to speak to some journalists who wanted to do a couple of stories on a particular situation, but one of them let on that it could mean I could become a representing voice, and could lead to tv interviews so I pulled out. Wish I was braver. So I applaud anyone who can do this because for some of us it’s just too overwhelming.


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I admire anyone who can get up and address an expectant audience. I dreaded it in school, I’d get bad anxiety attacks and end up failing, so in the end I just insisted on taking the fail to save myself the trauma. As I got older I thought I could handle it, so I’ve spoken in front of a small group I belong to, twice... both times my voice betrayed me and I sounded like a right twat. Again now older and wiser, about 2 years ago I was asked to speak to some journalists who wanted to do a couple of stories on a particular situation, but one of them let on that it could mean I could become a representing voice, and could lead to tv interviews so I pulled out. Wish I was braver. So I applaud anyone who can do this because for some of us it’s just too overwhelming.
Well done on giving it a go.

Wow. Potential tv interviews. That sounds tricky. I couldn't do it.
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It is interesting that the majority of people place public speaking as their number 1 fear
Above dying
Most people would rather die than address an audience

I was once one of those fearful people, it even effected my career choice for a long time
Then.....I grew up a bit, went through a lot of life events ....close to dying in fact....realising I needed to follow that career I wanted
Even if I failed inthe public speaking element

So, I went back to my deferred education I needed,and when the public speaking started in year 2, I had done what I could to overcome my fears

I had hypnotherapy, by an excellent doctor attached to the uni
I enrolled in a public speaking course through adult ed......this was the turning point
The teacher was a genius, his class of about twenty, was full of nervous souls in need of help
Just like me, so we all bonded fast
And our guardian angel, taught us his tips for getting past the nerves
He guided us gently,and we began to get over ourselves....
Interesting how many people have this hurdle in a career boost, there were cops, students, union reps all kinds

Still, most of us doing this course were still shakey when that first biggie came up
Everyone I knew of having done it, had used beta blockers for the nerves
So did I,stops your heart racing, stops physical signs of nerves in general
Makes your mouth dry

Anyway, I won that first battle, got A+++
And after that I thought I could fly
And I have loved speaking ever since
I do not practice.....but I do not speak unless I know what I am talking about, I do write points that must be addressed

Not very impressed with Toastmasters, they came to our uni, and tried to help, but they just gave us advice that did not suit the situation
And kind of insisted even when we told them that what they were saying would be unacceptable to masters and audience

Still I imagine it is a fun and worthwhile social group
And it is great you put so much effort into this @reepbot, and get so much pleasure from speaking


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Yes toastmasters isn't for everyone and there are other ways to do public speaking stuff.

I think another reason I wasn't that nervous at doing public speaking is that throughout stuff like high school they get you to do a lot of oral presentations so I got use to them. Plus I did drama.


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And I guess it's not the speaking I get pleasure from but the reactions of the audience. Like their laughter.

For me most of the effort involved thinking about the structure and topic of the speech. Followed by learning it. Anything after that comes naturally from practicing it so much.

I could try an impromptu speech, and most likely I'll do one in the future. I'll be interested to see how long I can speak for because I'm not a very big talked unscripted and a toastmaster speech usually has to go for five minutes.


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Like if I was doing a five minute impromptu speech it would be smart of me to talk about something I have some knowledge in like Press Gang. It would be foolish of me to talk about something like the history of Scotland in 1865 or whatever.


At my surviving public speaking adult Ed thing......we were very fortunate in the presenter, he knew how deathly afraid we all were, and he was so gentle,kind,supportive....and informative

So, re spontaneous speaking.....we usually began each session with a warm up
IE called chain reactions, presenter starts speaks on anything, pass to next person, add a bit, then pass to next
Until we had all contributed a 30 second bit
I can still picture that room, and all of us in a friendly circle
And the teacher’s advice about nerves and your hands......grip a lecturn, put them behind your back etc, hide the shaking bastards
I have never been good at using visual aids, find that a pain.....if needed I like to just hand out notes, diagrams whatever
Also, I think I have a boring voice, try to work on that when I can


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My voice is very monotone so when I do a speech I try to work on mixing it up a bit. Try to speak softly and loudly. Fastly and slowly. Do different voices if I can. Emphasize some words or phrases.